The George Zimmerman trial has forced the national dialogue on what is racism. Without going into detail over the requirement of perspective as it relates to how we approach an event with racial under or overtones I found these two quotes very important. Who we are and how we live as individuals must necessarily frame how we initially evaluate anything. It does not, however, speak to the validity of that opinion in light of available facts. Here we then must decide how much we trust that which supplies what is presented as facts. As Michael Eric Dyson notes, “When the people who rig the definition and the litmus test have a bias to begin with, it’s not going to be proof positive for you when you come along testing whether race or bias exists…”
What is below might be hard to read but even if it offends us we should stop to consider why it is being said. That is where the dialogue must start.
When Zimmerman was acquitted today, it wasn’t because he’s a so-called white Hispanic. He’s not. It’s because he abides by the logic of white supremacy, and was supported by a defense team—and a swath of society—that supports the lingering idea that some black men must occasionally be killed with impunity in order to keep society-at-large safe.
Justice needs to be more proactive. It should consist of an entire society doing everything it can to ensure that what happened to Trayvon never happens again. This includes a commitment to seeing the humanity in black men and boys, and letting go of the entrenched idea of their inherent criminality. It means divesting from the racist ideology that would have us believe black men are preternaturally violent creatures seeking to wreak havoc on America. Justice is black boys not having to grow up with that hanging over their heads. Justice is support for their potential. Real justice is this country truly believing that the killing of black boys is a tragedy
Mychal Denzel Smith
Who are they?
Aura Bogado is Colorlines’ news editor and reporter, covering a range of issues including Native American communities, immigration and community organizing. Aura was the community journalism coordinator and an investigative reporter for Voting Rights Watch 2012, a partnership between Colorlines and The Nation to cover the attack against voting rights and the community response to it during the 2012 elections.
Aura has reported in Spanish and English from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and the United States. Her work has been published in Mother Jones, Newsweek Argentina, AlterNet, and The Huffington Post. With the support of the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, she conducted an in-depth examination on the consequences of immigration enforcement by local police in Arizona.
Aura has worked as a national host and producer for the Pacifica Radio network. While there, she also coordinated a media literacy and training program for youth of color in Los Angeles with a grant from the California Technology Foundation. She was a founding member of 33+1/3 Books Collective, an independent bookstore and gallery in Los Angeles. In 2006, City Lights Books published The Other Campaign, which featured her exclusive interview with Subcomandante Marcos, his first in five years.
She earned her B.A. from Yale University, majoring in American Studies. An immigrant from South America of indigenous (Guarani) decent, she is currently based in New York, and plays son jarocho music in her spare time. (source)
Mychal Denzel Smith
Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute and blogger for TheNation.com. As a freelance writer, social commentator, and mental health advocate, his work has been seen online in outlets such as the Atlantic, Salon, Al Jazeera English, Gawker, the Guardian, Huffington Post, the Root, the Grio, and GOOD.
His writing covers a range of topics, including but not limited to race, politics, social justice, pop culture, hip-hop, mental health, feminism, and black male identity, particularly for millenials in the age of Obama. (source)